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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  February 2, 2010 11:00pm-12:00am EST

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nashua, new hampshire, riding a wave of newfound momentum that's been building since his state of the union address last week, and since his face-to-face rhetorical duel with republicans on friday. he was in new hampshire today to unveil a new economic proposal. he wants to take $30 billion of bailout money already paid back by wall street and use it to create a fund to give loans to small businesses to create jobs. while mr. obama was in new hampshire today pitching the job idea, new hampshire's republican senator judd gregg was back in washington trashing the idea in a verbal joust with president obama's budget director. >> the law is very clear. the money's recouped from the t.a.r.p. shall be paid into the general fund of the treasury for the reduction of the public debt. it's not for a piggybank because you're concerned about lending to small businesses and you want to get a political event when you go out and make a speech in
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nashua, new hampshire. e that's not what this money is for, it's to reduce the debt of our children that we're passing on to our children. >> now, on the subject of the debt and the deficit, republicans keep trying to get back on offense, as you heard right there, and you saw in the invisible frustration in senator gregg's face. but the president is not ceding them that ground right now. today for a second day in a row, he pilloried senate republicans for bailing on a bipartisan debt commission. a number of republicans that originally supported that idea ended up voting no when it came to a vote once the president said he supported it. >> this law failed by seven votes. when seven republicans who had cosponsored the bill -- had cosponsored the idea, suddenly walked away from their own proposal after i endorsed it. so they make a proposal, sign on to the bill. i say, great, good idea.
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i turn around, and they're gone. what happened? now, look, it's one thing to have an honest difference of opinion on something. there's nothing wrong with that. you can't walk away from your responsibilities to confront the challenges facing the country because you don't think it's good short-term politics. we can't afford that. >> mr. obama teed up republicans on the stimulus package today as well, another subject on which republicans have been trying to stay on the offense. but president obama again no longer letting them. >> some of the very same folks in congress who opposed the recovery act and claimed that it hasn't worked have been all too happy to claim credit for recovery act projects, and the jobs those projects have produced. they come to the ribbon cuttings
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and they found a way to have their cake and vote against it too. >> on the issue of health reform, again, the president went on offense saying the country is at the five-yard line, it's time to push it into the end zone, he's hitting republicans for attacking his health reform plan without presenting what he considers to be a credible alternative. >> at the republican caucus, they held up -- they said, we have a plan, it's going to provide everyone coverage at no cost. and i said, well, if that were true, why wouldn't i take it? my wife michelle thinks i'm stubborn sometimes, but i'm not that stubborn. okay, let me think. i could have everybody get health care coverage that's high quality and it's free, which i'll bet's really popular. but i'm not going to do that, i'm going to go through the pain of really working through this hard process in congress,
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getting yelled at and called a socialist because i -- you know, i just -- that's how i roll. i'm a glutton for punishment. >> if he seems like he's enjoying himself there, i have a suspicion it's because he is. is this a normal post state of the union presidential rollout, or is this what year two of the obama presidency is going to be like? joining us now is chris matthews. the host of "hardball" here on msnbc. thanks for staying around. >> it's fun. >> it is fun. >> it's a fun time these last few days to watch politics come back into our lives and democracy going to work and two sides going at each other. instead of just one side. >> i saw you talking about this on "hardball" today. yesterday i saw your segment titled, has obama got his groove back, and it certainly seems like he's got momentum. do you think it translates to him getting stuff passed? >> yeah, i had this image of an old cowboy movie where the soldiers, the guys on the uniforms or horses, they're inside the fort.
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the indians are attacking outside, these allegorical indians. i always wondered why did the soldiers not stay in the fort? why didn't they stay in the inside and hide behind the fence? you know why? because they're cavalry. he's happier on his horse, he's happier out there fighting. he's been under attack. i think you talk to people in massachusetts, all through this hosanas about scott brown. he won because the democrats took punishment for a month there and didn't do anything about it. the president was on vacation in hawaii. i'm not knocking him, but that's where he was when we were threatened by that attacker over detroit. the secretary of homeland security didn't say the right thing. the system wasn't working apparently. they did make a deal for nebraska, there were a lot of things that didn't look right, there was a lot of incoming, a lot of bad stuff, bad karma
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going on for about a month. and scott brown went out there and took advantage of it. this white house took that hit very hard, not even did they lose their 60th vote, they lost any sense of arrogance, which is probably the good side of this. the president is out there campaigning, he's on the opposite of vacation, he's going into the republican strong hold in baltimore last week, he's going to the basketball games, reengaging with people, exploiting his personal popularity. his regularness. you notice he's bringing biden along with him? just as company, but also as a symbol of the excitement of the campaign, the two guys on the road -- >> picking new hampshire, i'm sure, it's a real state. it's not just a prop for electoral politics. >> they do care about fiscal responsibility it's not a joke up there. also, it caught the republicans in that snare, when those seven members pulled out having cosponsored, he had -- that's the ultimate proof of treachery, when you cosponsor a bill, and then you're not there for the final vote, well, which is the truth? you believed in the bill or you didn't. you're caught.
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>> positing against honest differences of opinions. those are okay. he's implicitly saying this is dishonest. >> it's treachery. >> on the subject of the things they've done wrong. on all of those things you mentioned, there's good rejoinders. he did respond to the christmas bombing faster than bush responded to the shoe bomber. janet napolitano, you can make an argument about it. they didn't rebut. >> he wasn't running against bush in massachusetts. it didn't look good at the time -- the standards of the time. >> but the point is that they didn't make -- they didn't rebut. they weren't out there fighting. they took the abuse. they could have rebutted an really didn't. now it seems like they're taking all the existing facts, even on issues like how the christmas day bomber was treated in terms of his miranda rights and all of those things. >> turns out something we didn't know. that he went in for surgery and stopped talking before there was any talk of miranda rights. the way it was presented by the critics, they gave him his miranda rights and he lawyered up and stopped talking. no, he stopped talking before he got the miranda rights. >> but something's changed in
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this white house because the critics were making those charges. and the facts were what the facts have always been. but we didn't hear anything back from the white house. now all of a sudden we're getting a ton -- >> they're hiding in the fort instead of going out and fighting in the field. he's out in the field right now, it's great to watch because i think he has a big problem. his numbers went down, and he lost his oomph on capitol hill with the number of senators he needs. i think they're going to go for a closely run effort to win health care. it is their last chance. but it is a chance. and the only tricky question is, does the senate move first on reconciliation alongside the bill they already passed? or does it hope that the house can pass the bill with some kind of deal that they will then act in reconciliation in the senate. it's a sequence problem right now. but they can't do any that until they get the president's numbers up. he has to get up above 55, so they can hold on to the 50 senators they need. you have to understand, about a week ago theshtion were losing
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50 -- they weren't going to get to 50. >> do you think right now -- >> they have to get 50. plus the vp they win. but it's so close. at the end of a couple hours, or 20 hours of debate, they may be down to 40 something. i believe the president wants some mad padding and marinade for a while. i do have some intel on this, by the way. he wants this to marinade for a while. let the president get his political power back. it's february, we're not talking beyond february. get the power back, go back on the hill, get the senators to vote, plus the vice president. get a good solid vote with reconciliation, to compliment the senate bill. but the tricky part and hardest part, heaviest lifting is is to get 218 in the house. either with stupak or go to the left the other way. decision, pelosi's people, do we go with the 218 or 220 we had before, or ditch stupak and modify it significantly enough to get the pro-choicers? it's really tricky. they can do it, but it's so close right now.
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>> it seems like it's still in motion. they just announced today they're going to have a vote next week in the house on this issue of insurance companies antitrust protection. >> that would be a give for the republicans, i would think. >> in terms of -- >> they want that, they've been saying that all along. >> that would be another one these issues of saying -- let's find something. >> find something. maybe they'll end up with tort reform. i think the democrats are willing to make a reasonable cap on damages if they can get health care reform. and that's less of a compromise if you think about it on moral terms, than some of the issues like choice, which are harder for them. >> i think what's got to happen, in terms putting together something that's going to work, you have to -- you can box republicans in on these votes that they're going to have a hard time explaining why they vote no. but ultimately, to pass something, it's not just a political game. you do actually have to pass something and you've got to probably do it with zero republicans. >> in the senate, yeah. and i think in the house, except for the fellow from new orleans. >> yeah, i don't even know if i can count on him anymore.
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he said he wouldn't vote for it, he voted for it the one time. >> it doesn't make any sense. he's zany. you have to be consistent. in fact, the best thing the democrats have going -- i used the term marinade. i think if you sit and wait a couple weeks, it sinks in the to democrats that are a bit recalcitrant and are worried. they're in purple districts. it's better for them to act. remember i said a few weeks ago, the worry is not that government's tilting to the left. that's the thing you do. that's diagnostic after you worry about what's going on. it's when you see it can't act and somebody says it's because it's leaning left. no, what initially gets to you is the high unemployment rate and the symptoms that they can't act. >> they have no choice. >> if you can move and act, it makes up for a lot of sins in terms of ideology with the middle. they like to see an act of government. >> chris matthews, the host of msnbc's "hardball." which airs at 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. eastern. it's nice to be here on set with you. >> i like joining the night shift occasionally. >> sorry to keep you up late. >> i'm not that old. i don't go to bed at 9:00. >> i didn't mean to imply.
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john mccain came out angrily in favor of keeping don't ask don't tell today. he used to say he would favor scrapping the policy if the military top brass wanted to. they want to. i was at the hearing when the brass spoke up to have. we have dramatic details how it all went down. this, my friends, is what i am bringing to the table. hunt's flashsteams every tomato to keep that backyard garden fresh taste. isn't it time to take a fresh look at your tomatoes? ♪ [ laughter ] ♪ ♪ too much talking 'bout the next time, the next time ♪ hey, buddy, i appreciate the ride, you know? no problem. mind if i take a shortcut? yeah, sure. [ tires screech ] ♪ [ man ] i knew the subaru legacy was the smart choice.
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you may know that the person we just had as a guest on this
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show, chris matthews, does a "hardball" college tour. right before the midterm elections in 2006, he had senator john mccain on the college tour with him in iowa. they took questions from the crowd. >> our military needs as many fine young men and women as we can get. >> yes. >> why do we have a policy that discriminates on the basis of declared sexual orientation? >> i listen to people like general colin powell, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and literally every military leader i know, and they testified before congress that they felt that the don't ask, don't tell policy was the most appropriate way to conduct ourselves in the military. i understand the opposition to it, and i've had these debates and discussions, but the day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, senator, we ought to change the policy, then i think we ought to consider seriously changing,
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because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to. >> that was john mccain speaking in 2006, telling "hardball" that the day the leadership of the military says that don't ask, don't tell should be changed, on that day he'd consider changing the policy. that day was today. >> it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do. no matter how i look at this issue, i cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. for me, personally, it comes down to integrity. theirs as individuals and ours as an institution. >> during the state of the union address, the president announced he will work with congress this year to repeal the law known as don't ask, don't tell.
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he subsequently directed the department of defense to begin the preparations necessary for a repeal of the current law and policy. i fully support the president's decision. >> today the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, admiral mike mullen and the defense secretary bob gates both expressed unreserved support for repealing don't ask, don't tell. even though john mccain is on record saying that's what he would need to hear to change the policy, that's not how john mccain reacted at today's hearing. at all. in fact, he sort of blew a gasket. >> i'm deeply disappointed in your statement, secretary gates. your statement obviouses one which is clearly biased without the view of congress being taken into consideration. you are embarking on saying it's not whether the military prepares to make the change, but how we best prepare for it, without ever hearing from members of congress.
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>> so for john mccain, as long as the military leadership is against gay people serving in the military, he wants to defer to their judgment. but if the military leadership is for gay people serving in the military, he thinks the military leadership should defer to him. last year he did an interview, with ana marie cox on air america radio in which the senator said on his very first day in office, if he had been elected president, he would have asked the chairman of the joint chiefs to review don't ask, don't tell. >> right now the joint chiefs have said that the policy's working and that in their view, it should be kept in place. but, again, if i were president, the day i was elected, sworn in, i would have asked the chairman of the joint chiefs, conduct an in-depth study and come up with recommendations for me. >> the military is in fact doing an in-depth study of don't ask, don't tell now, and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff says he thinks the policy should be repealed.
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now that those things john mccain said he would defer to are actually happening, senator mccain has changed his mind about them. in addition to john mccain's collapse of credibility and embarrassing loss of temper on this issue today, a couple of important other things happened. first senator carl levin the chair of the arms services committee made clear that dropping don't ask, don't tell can happen with not 60 votes, but 50 in the senate, or maybe even 40. this was a sort of subtle but important moment at the hearing. watch his exchange here with joe lieberman. >> it's up to us, we in the congress, and in the senate, we have to get 60 votes to repeal don't ask, don't tell, or else it will remain in effect. thank you. >> unless there's a provision inside the defense authorization bill that goes to the floor which would then require an amendment to strike it from the
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bill, in which case the 60 vote rule would be turning the other way. >> it is -- no, it is with great appreciation that i accept the higher wisdom of the chairman on the committee. >> senator levin is saying that on the senate side, if repealing don't ask, don't tell could be done as part of a big defense bill, a big defense authorization bill -- which is how don't ask, don't tell became law in the first place, it would take 60 votes to kill the repeal, not 60 votes to hold on to the policy. which means that even as the military is announcing a year long process for studying and figuring out the implementation issues of getting rid of the policy, congress could move right away. there's no reason for congress to wait on the senate side at least. there is a clear path. the other important thing that happened today, is the opposition to repealing don't ask, don't tell, had a bad, bad, bad day in opposition.
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in addition to senator mccain doing his big awkward angry public flip-flop on the matter, senator saxby chambliss of georgia tried on an argument that had at least one person in the hearing room, who was sitting about three rows behind me, audibly snorting coffee out of his or her nose. this was it. >> the military society is characterized by its own laws, rules, customs and traditions, including restrictions on personal behavior that would not be acceptable in civilian society. examples include alcohol use, adultery, fraternization and body art. if we change this rule of don't ask, don't tell, what are we going to do with these other issues? >> it was at that moment that senator chambliss uttered the phrase body art that i distinctly heard somebody shoot coffee out their nose in the hearing room. saxby chambliss, our nation's watchdog over whether more civil rights will lead to more
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tattoos. in some, the basic talking points of republicans against repealing don't ask, don't tell. aside from the it will lead to more tattoos worry -- essentially the talking points are leftover from 1993. back then they were able to turn the issue into bad politics for president clinton by driving a wedge between him as the commander in chief, who wanted to get rid of the prohibition of gays in the military and the military itself. colin powell against gays in the military, bill clinton for gays in the military. the political advantage went to colin powell and the conservatives on his side. that dynamic is over now. and conservatives who are trying to find an anti-gay ally this time around in the chairman of the joint chiefs are embarrassing themselves by doing so. watch this. >> it does go, again, to sort of a fundamental principle with me, which is everybody counts. and part of the struggle back to the institutional integrity aspect of this --
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>> well, i know. i appreciate your view. >> and putting individuals in a position that every single day they wonder whether today's going to be the day. and devaluing them in that regard just is inconsistent with us as an institution. i have served with homosexuals since 1968. senator mccain spoke to that in his statement. everybody in the military has. and we understand that, so it is a number of things which cumulatively for me personally get me to this position. senator sessions for me, this is not about command influence. this is about leadership. and i take that very seriously. >> and you can see in the face of senator jeff sessions there that that leadership from the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, admiral mike mullen is likely to make the difference. one of the highest ranking people facing discharge under the don't ask, don't tell policy
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i think the live and let live policy is not a bad policy to adhere to, and that's what we have in place in the military with don't ask, don't tell right now. >> has this policy been ideal? no, it has not. but it's been effective. it's helped to balance a potentially disruptive tension between the desires of a minority, and the broader interests of our all-volunteer force. it's well understood and predominantly supported by our fighting men and women. it reflects, as i understand them, the preferences of our uniformed servers.
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it has sustained unit cohesion and unit morale. >> i don't think they're required to lie about who they are. i think that's an overstatement. although, i think the rule of don't ask, don't tell has seemed to work pretty well. >> joining us now is someone whose very existence gives lie to those claims that don't ask don't tell is working out great for the country and great for the military, lieutenant colonel victor fair farrenback. 19-year veteran, he was outed by a civilian acquaintance. even though he wants to continue to serve his country, his discharge under don't ask don't tell is pending. thank you for joining us again, particularly because you're standing in a very cold outdoor location. >> it is cold, rachel. thank you. >> when i was in the hearing room today at the senate listening to those republican senators talk about how well don't ask, don't tell works, how effective it is, in my mind i
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just want stod hear your response to that. what is your response? >> well, first of all, let me say this. senator mccain is a hero of mine, it was very disconcerting to hear that. he is the reason i joined the military 18 1/2 years ago and he's the reason i stayed in this long. i felt i owed him personally and his generation a debt, and i wanted to repay that with service to my country. so i was extremely disappointed to hear that. secondly, i would like to hear those that are proponents of this law to explain to me how it's possibly successful, how it's working. i can show you evidence how it's unconstitutional. i can show you evidence how it's blatant discrimination, i can show you evidence how it hurts the combat effectiveness of my squadron in particular. then when you do it 13,500 times over with people with critical combat skills in the middle of two wars at the cost of billions of dollars how it hurts national security as a whole. then i can show you --
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i can invite these people to come to work with me tomorrow and show you how military professionals don't care about someone's personal private life. they care about somebody who's able to execute the mission, who's dedicated and who's professional. that's what the people care about that i work with every day. >> victor, congress has to repeal this policy, obviously. it is congressionally created and congress has to get rid of it. the military has to implement that repeal. they say they want a year to figure out implementation. but in the interim, the secretary of defense today said they essentially want to con strain the way the policy is applied. they say they want to try to make it more fair, at least until they can get rid of it. what's your reaction to that? >> well, i think we'll have to wait and hear -- i know my lawyer and legal defense network is going to look for more information on that topic, and whether that applies to me and my case in particular, i just don't know yet. what i heard today is like you said, they want to look into
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ways to possibly apply it more leniently while they look into the implementation plan. now, whether that means that it takes effect right away and it applies only to future cases, we just don't know yet. we're going to need to hear more details. i hope what it means is that cases that are pending like mine, that hopefully they'll be able to look at the way this was handled and they're able to dismiss my case. >> are you disappointed that the military says it needs a year to study and figure out implementation? does that seem appropriate to you? >> well, rachel, that was one tiny thing that did disappoint me today, because the way i see it, this issue has been studied for over 15 years now. and the best example i can give, we have 25 allied countries that we work with and go to war with every day. and they have ended their bans. i've actually served with people from australia, canada and the united kingdom, i've been
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deployed with them in tent city and gone to war with them and it was a nonissue for them. if we need a year to talk about the issues we do need to tackle. and there are important issues we'll need to look at. they talked about housing and others. all we need to do is look at the models of our 25 allies. they've tackled these issues and come up with solutions. i don't think that takes a year, i think we can make a couple phone calls and get this done in 30 or 60 days. >> how important is it, do you think, for leaders like chairman of the joint chiefs, admiral mullen on this to show personal leadership on this, to say he's personally committed to repealing this and doing it right? do you think that's significant? >> absolutely. i think this was a hopeful, promising historic day. this is the first time we've seen military leaders, the very top of the military make these kinds of statements, and i want do want to just say i was overwhelmed by admiral mullen's statements pip was overwhelmed by his commitment. it sounded personal, it sounded
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from the heart that this wasn't something he was told to do, this was something that was personal and really meant something to him, i was overwhelmed by that today. >> lieutenant colonel victor fehrenbach, thank you for joining us, get inside somewhere warm. good luck to you. it's nice to see you. the rachel maddow show is live from washington, d.c., today, we will be right back. new mousse temptations by jell-o. ♪ three decadent flavors. 60 calories. it's me o'clock. time for jell-o.
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still ahead, president obama says health reform is in the proverbial red zone, which is a football thing. that's a good thing for health reform. congressman anthony weiner joins us for that. plus, saints v. colts, a musical throwdown. as our super bowl mardi gras week continues. first a late development in the case of a man who tried to blow up a plane headed for detroit on christmas day with explosives that he had hidden in his skivvies. when umar farouk abdulmutallab was arrested, he was read his miranda rights, which they called a travesty. they wanted him in military
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custody. today robert mueller told congress despite being read his miranda rights the christmas day underwear bomber suspect is still cooperating with investigators and giving them useful intelligence. a senior administration official has also now told nbc news that two fbi officials flue to nigeria on new year's day, to meet with mr. abdulmutallab's family. a few of his family members flew back to the u.s. with the fbi. they convinced the man to cooperate with authorities. the official also says that standard fbi interrogation practices were used in the interrogation of mr. abdulmutallab. they say that richard reid the shoe bomber was mirandized within the first five minutes of his detention. and they say that more than 300 terrorists were convicted in the u.s. court system by the bush administration. mr. abdulmutallab is apparently still talking to and cooperating with authorities. the attempted politicization of his arrest at least so far seems to be misfiring. next up, a snapshot of today's republican party, i don't mean republican leadership
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in congress or every democrat's favorite republican, michael steele. i mean average everyday self-identifying republicans, joe the republicans if you will, polled coast-to-coast by research 2000, this poll was commissioned by daily coast, daily kos is an influential liberal website. but the polling firm that did the survey is a nonpartisan mainstream polling organization, and this is what they found out about today's republican party. not just its base, but the party. you ready? the number of rank and file republicans who think president obama should be impeached for something? is 39%. the number of rank and file republicans who think president obama is a socialist? more than 60%. the number of rank and file republicans who think the president was not born in this country or are not sure, almost 65%. the proportion of republicans who think the president is a terrorist sympathizer who wants terrorists to win, that he's rooting for terrorists is nearly one in four.
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the proportion of rank and file republicans who think that a.c.o.r.n. stole the presidential election, more than one in five. the number of rank and file republicans who think that president obama is a racist, who hates white people, like, for example, his mother, the proportion is 31%. almost quarter of republicans think their state should secede from the country. country first. remember these numbers when somebody asks you why everything can't be more bipartisan these days. importantly, though, there is no known correlation between political sanity and political motivation. when asked whether or not they would actually vote in november, 83% of these rank and file republicans said yes. which means they should totally run orly taitz in 2012. and the vague arryes of oil fly can affect oil prices, national politics and industries from here to timbuktu. but what affects oil supply in that's easy, demand, reserves, refining capacity.
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pumping limits by the oil producing nations. swordfish. swordfish? yes, swordfish have reportedly punctured a flexible loading pipe operated by a french oil company in angola. tanker shipments of crude oil were delayed for three days. they say that will probably lead to additional delays of loading for the next two months. this is the part of the story where you want to see a picture of a swordfish, too. yes, hello, pretty. how about two seconds of a video of a swordfish captured on a submersible camera. and this is the part where i say to protect global crude oil supplies, we will have to fish, baby, fish. when you take 10 minutes
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we're essentially on the 5 yard line, for those who like football analogies. we've had to go into overtime, but we are now in the red zone. that's exactly right. we're in the red zone. we've got to punch it through. >> the whole country has football on the brain right now. we cannot have a conversation without talking football. in this case, what president obama wants to
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punch through in overtime from the red zone is health reform. 60 years and coming, it's passed the house, it's passed the senate, democrats have huge majorities in both houses in congress. and yet beltway common wisdom keeps trying to say it's done. if president obama's speechifying was not enough to convince you that health care is not dead, consider that the far right of the political spectrum is still speechifying on health care, too. >> government takeover of health care is the crown jewel of socialism. >> minnesota republican congresswoman michele bachmann yesterday still campaigning to kill it health reform, which presumably she wouldn't be doing if the bill weren't alive. health reform is alive enough that its opponents are inventing new conspiracy theories to use against it. health reform was once a secret plot to kill old people, then it was a secret plot to hurt veterans, then a secret plot to deny health care to all republicans. if you can't get enough of the
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kooky conspiracy theories about health reform, i have some good news. now crazy health reform conspiracy theories are turning japanese. >> he showed me a little card that was about this big. and he said, this goes my card from when i lived in japan. and japan had the government takeover of health care. but he said this is something that people don't know. in japan, people have stopped voicing their opinion on health care. he said it's because they know that they will get on a list and wouldn't get health care. they wouldn't get in. they wouldn't get seen. so people are afraid. they're afraid to speak back to government. they're afraid to say anything. is that what we want for our future? that takes us to gangster government at that point. >> michele bachmann warning that the japanese were all secretly born in kenya or something.
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>> this is what the 5 yard looks like, the republicans are on the offense, in this metaphor, somebody should be wide open, shouldn't they? joining us right now is democratic congresswoman anthony wiener of new york. thanks for your time. nice to see you. >> my pleasure. >> i'm not going to ask you about japanese secret plots and conspiracies, but i wonder if that is reasonable. it is reasonable to take that as a sign that the right isn't giving up on this stuff, that health reform is alive and kicking. >> well, i think it's also interesting that when the president went to new hampshire today, he went up there to talk about jobs, went there to talk about jobs, open it up to questions. most were about health care. the american people still want this thing to continue. they're frustrated. the president today, boy, i wish the president sounded that way three months ago rather than worshiping at the altar of ben nelson and olympia snowe as he was up there on stages all across this country saying we have to do this. i take that as a sign. also buried in the budget yesterday was the assumption of
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$1550 billion of savings over the next ten years for health care reform. so the president's number crunchers still think it's alive. the people in new hampshire still think it's alive. and people like bachman still think it's alive. that's a good sign. but that doesn't mean that we're that much closer today to getting a deal than yesterday. but if the president plows ahead with this and goes long or short or whatever he has to do here to get this over the goal line, then i think we'll be a lot -- >> drilling down on that, you have been very vocal on the fact that health reform needs presidential leadership, presidential energy in order to pass it. also needs to let some of his presidential popularity. how does it help? does it move legislators who are on the fence? does it create the sense among the leadership if the house and congress that they have to do something soon while they can? how does it manifest?
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>> the president has acted like lyndon johnson trying to arm twist and massage the vote to get to 60 votes. you need a little leavening of ronald reagan, bill clinton or abe lincoln to talk to the country about why this is important. yet the president seems to have been reluctant until recently to really sock it in on some of these things. if he would have gone around the country talking about how important the public option was in these various states, those senators might have given him the 60 votes. it's a chicken and egg thing. you just can't say we don't have the 60 votes. you won't get them if you don't push it. if the president speaks the way he did today for the next couple of weeks in the states where we have wavering senators, we'll get the 60 votes we need to get. >> we've been hearing rumblings from the house leadership that they'll take up the insurance company's antitrust exemption. what do you make of that? >> for months republicans have been saying why don't you let
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insurance companies compete over state line. if you do that, they should be govern earned like any other interstate commerce. there's no real good reason to give it to them. you want to say, we'll give them information so they can rate us all properly. now they're using it as gap in the regulation. if we're going to require that people get coverage, we have to have subsidies so they can get it less expensively. if we require that insurance companies dofr more people, then we make sure they don't raise rates on everyone else. i really do think you still need a comprehensive bill like we have in the house. >> only a few things you can do. good to see you here. >> my pleasure. >> coming up on "countdown," the christmas day underpants bomber is talking. keith explores what they'll make of that. next on this show, our countdown to our new orleans show continues with a musical smackdown of champions.
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but first, one more thing about congresswoman michelle bachman of the be afraid of japanese health care caucus, but she's lost three chiefs of staff in the last three years. today we learn that she's losing another staffer. she's just said good-bye to her press secretary, debby keller, who has been on the job for less than a year. in an e-mail, she wrote, i am excited to announce that starting today i'll be serving in a new role as communications director for representative paul broun. she joins more than another dozen staffer who have left the office for exciting new tuns since michelle bachman took office in 2006. we do not understand the reasons behind this, but it is quite a tribute to the congresswoman one way or the other. powered by the wind on the plains. there's a hospital where technology has a healing touch. there's a factory giving old industries new life. and there's a train that got a whole city moving again. somewhere in america,
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as i mentioned last night, this show will be broadcasting live from the french quarter in new orleans this friday night. we're so excited. in that spirit kent jones has another saints v. colts story for us. >> there's more than just a football rivalry going on between the saints and the colts. fans of each team have recorded special super bowl songs for the big game. for the saints, here is the song "glory bound" featuring theresa anderson and the great aaron neville. hit it. ♪ ♪ when the saints go marching in ♪ ♪ i want to be in that number ♪ be in that number ♪ when the saints go marching in ♪ ♪ oh when the saints ♪ go marching in ♪ when the saints go marching in ♪ ♪ when the saints
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♪ i want to be in that number ♪ when the saints go marching in ♪ >> yeah. okay. proceeds from the downloads of "glory bound" will benefit a health insurance program for new orleans musicians. so it's extra cool. now for the afc champion indianapolis colts. here are the mutt kids with do it again colts ten. hit it. ♪ big gold super bowl ♪ tear it off the indiana holmes ♪ ♪ deal with that ♪ we're talking smack ♪ it's an actual fact ♪ very rarely do you see the mvp ♪ ♪ this is geared up ♪ supercomputer above the neck ♪ show respect ♪ defense is set ♪ make adjustments ♪ we're in the stands freaking
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out ♪ ♪ seeking out another victory >> yeah. >> wow. >> indiana hip-hop. i like it. >> i got to say -- >> what do you think? >> i really like both tracks, but i think it's a bad idea to try to pick a fight with new orleans on the basis of music under any circumstances. >> very sound advice, very sage. >> also beads and beignets. >> beads and beignets. >> appreciate it. that does it for us tonight. "hardball" is next. good night. . manning the arena. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, feed the hot hand. in basketball, you get the ball to the player who is on a streak. that's if you're smart. that's precisely the
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presidential game plan the last seven days. give the ball to barack obama, get him out there with the people, hitting his points. the president was up in new hampshire and his message to independent voters was very clear. look at me now. i'm out there leading the country through this tough time when everyone else just sitting on the sidelines offering their criticism. that's right look at him now. the latest gallup poll has his approval rating making a turn upward since the state of the union speech. so it's working. plus, don't ask, don't tell, both defense secretary robert gates and the chairman of the joint chiefs admiral mullen testified on capitol hill in support of ending the policy. the oscar nominations are out today. we'll take a look at how nominated movies like "up in the air" and "the hurt locker" tell us about the dangers of our times from unemployment to war. plus today's the official kickoff of the 2010 primary season. by late tonight we could see if the republicans are united enough in illinois to perhaps turn president obama's senate seat from blue to red. finally, what percentage of republicans think president obama should be impeached? that's right, impeached.

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